Given Sega's history of surprising Sonic fans with unexpected releases, it came as no shock when it opted to launch a new Sonic game in honor of April Fools' Day. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a point-and-click visual novel game in which players can converse with various Sonic characters to investigate and solve Sonic the Hedgehog's murder.
While highly unusual, this parodical game release definitely didn't come out of the blue - a day before the game’s launch, Sega had hinted on Twitter about taking the Sonic franchise in a new direction, stating:
We've been listening. A new direction for Sonic is coming soon...
As it turns out, the entire tweet was a shrewd ploy to prank unsuspecting fans in light of the upcoming April Fool's Day. Few fans expect large companies to kill their best-known mascots (even though it keeps happening for shock value). Here is a brief description of the game:
It's Amy Rose's birthday, and she's hosting a murder mystery party on the Mirage Express! When Sonic the Hedgehog becomes the game's victim, everyone is off to get to the bottom of things. However, something feels a bit off - is this really an innocent game or is something more sinister afoot?
Sega unveiled the latest Sonic freeware just one week after the announcement of Sonic Origins Plus, an expanded version of Sonic Origins that includes extra playable characters and Sonic games from Game Gear. The game is scheduled to be released on June 23.
The game's Steam page has a cheeky reference to the ambiguous canonicity of the game - while this was officially published by SEGA, it is not a Sonic Team title and isn't technically canon to any main Sonic continuity. It does however reference canon events from Sonic games, and the developers "believe in the power of headcanon."
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is available to play on macOS and Windows via Steam.